Every January Abogar International Ministries hosts a retreat for the Board of Directors. In the most recent years we have held it in San Diego, California, the official center and base of Abogar International Ministries. This retreat has been created specifically for the purpose of planning out direction and budget for the ministry for the current year, as well as to, in faith, look to the future. It is also a retreat to thank our board members, who faithfully meet (via skype) every month, without financial compensation, to help guide and direct Abogar International Ministries forward! Thank you, board members!
This year’s Board of Directors’ Retreat was blessed and productive. We worked through several issues that needed attention, and cast vision and direction for the future of Abogar. In the weeks leading up to the retreat, I sensed a nudging from the Lord. It seemed that He was calling me to propose that we reevaluate how ministry is being done in Guatemala, and that we consider an approach of observation rather than lots of ‘doing’ this year. In the retreat, as I shared this prompting that I had been sensing, the Board of Directors felt confirmation for this calling, and therefore we have designated our 2020 theme to be, “Watch and Listen, Slow and Steady”!
Now that we find ourselves in the throes of the corona virus pandemic, with governments imposing great restrictions on gatherings, activities, or events, how appropriate it is that God has been inviting Abogar to watch and to listen, to move slow and steady. I have also been hit with another conviction in the last few days. If God is calling us to Watch and Listen, He also expects us to respond in obedience when He shows us something, or tells us something! It may seem like a very obvious fact, but reality is that many of us would just get stuck in the watching and listening, or at least, I know I probably would.
For the past 5 years I have lived here in Guatemala, and served for Abogar, as we fight to help precious children and widows. We have been able to have great ministry outputs over these years, seen many children come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, running our Vidas Nuevas Ministry, partnering with other ministries to provide blessing, and intervening is some very traumatic and unbelievable situations to provide freedom, victory, and safety. Our strategy and focus over this time has been to focus primarily on leadership development, team building, and human resources, rather than physical structures and properties. In our reevaluation as a board of directors, it has been determined that now is the appropriate and exact time that we need to try a different strategy and approach. While the greatest asset to our ministry will always be the volunteers and people we work with, not having a physical location of our own, from which to serve the community and children, has really worked to undermine the productivity and effectiveness of our ministry, and has caused great limitations for us. This year, while we continue fighting for precious children of Latin America, we will be largely focused on two important aspects for our ministry… a better financial base, and a physical location on the ground in Guatemala to work from.
For 8 years now, guiding Abogar forward, I have made lots of sacrifice in receiving salary. Some people suggest that it’s uncomfortable and not the wisest for me to discuss money, but I believe it is important to be honest and transparent. I Timothy 5:18 tells us that a worker is worth their wages. We have struggled to have me paid each year, and my salary is not very much at all. Now being a newly married husband, with hopes of children and a home in the future, there seems to be an even greater urgency for me to receive my pay. I don’t mention this for pity’s sake, but rather because Abogar would also like to expand our team of workers, to help lighten my load and expand the impact we can have as a ministry. If we have challenges to pay me in full, the Founder and CEO, we definitely need an even greater base of investors and support to have a greater team of workers fighting on behalf of the precious children! We really cannot move forward very quickly without this base of financial support and stability, and it further affirms that this year we shall Watch and Listen, Slow and Steady, to see and hear where God has more investors for eternal purposes with Abogar. I would like to note though, that we are VERY THANKFUL to each and every donor who has already committed to invest in the lives of the children through the ministry of Abogar! THANK YOU!
Recently I have been approached by a Christian couple here in Guatemala, who also are very invested in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children. They have a property that they would like to consider renting to Abogar/AboGua to help us have the stability we need. Mike Holland, Abogar’s Vice-President of the Board of Directors, recently was here in Guatemala with me, and we visited the property. It is an ideal location and is spacious to be able to do ministry, have staff housing, and have classrooms and an office for AboGua. The cost per month would be considerably less than if we were trying to purchase a property, and a feasible and valuable expenditure of the ministry. There also may be potential to discuss purchasing the property, down the road, if it would behoove and be appropriate for Abogar. Mike was very much in affirmation of Abogar renting this property, and helped me recently to share about it with the whole Board of Directors. After discussing the property with the Board of Directors, we have affirmation, once the restrictions of corona virus have lifted, to pursue this property as a new strategy for Abogar/AboGua to reach the children.
Right now we are watching and listening, and things are definitely slow… and steady. Please join us in our prayerful petition to God for the provisions necessary for Abogar to have an even greater impact for the glory of God. We desire to multiply our Vidas Nuevas outreach, to have family and parent bible studies, to have a licensed therapist who can evaluate and work with the children, conferences for parents, tutoring for the children, and so much more! For all of this, we really need help from investors to increase our financial base and to have a property from which we can consistently and faithfully serve! If you are interested in joining our team of investors/donors today, visit abogarim.org/support/ to become a monthly or regular donor, or to make a one-time tax deductible gift! Join us as we Watch and Listen! May we see, hear, and obey God, for His glory! Amen!